File picture: Reuters

Cape Town – Mitchells Plain residents have been left without internet connectivity after 13 cables at Telkom’s exchange in Eisleben Road were stolen on Wednesday.

While some services in the area have been restored, repeated theft has forced Openserve, Telkom’s network infrastructure provider to consider alternative technology such as LTE.

Openserve spokesperson Mooketsi Mocumi said repair work put significant pressure on human and financial resources.

“Unfortunately, these acts leave our customers with no connectivity, which compromises business and essential services in those areas,” Mocumi said.

Around 1 900 broadband and voice services were disrupted when the incident occurred.

Police spokesperson André Traut said they were investigating the theft. 

Meanwhile, repairs to the undersea cables that failed and left parts of the continent with slow internet are estimated to be completed by next week.

Last month, the South Atlantic 3 undersea fibre cable was damaged near Libreville, Gabon, while the West African Cable System (Wacs) was damaged near the Congolese coast, causing slow internet speeds across parts of Africa.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was worst affected, while South African users reported problems with the MTN and Vodafone networks.

After initial difficulty in deploying a repair ship, due to Cape Town’s strong winds, the SA National Research and Education Network tweeted yesterday that repairs to the Wacs S4 UK Break were continuing.

“The cable vessel remains in port at Avonmouth due to the weather. The weather is expected to clear by tomorrow (Thursday), with a tentative estimated time of return/repair of Feb 16.”

Cape Times